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FBI, Police Search For Fetus Cut From Slain Mother's Womb

December 16, 2004
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FBI, Police Search For Fetus Cut From Slain Mother's Womb

The Associated Press

SKIDMORE, Mo. -- The FBI on Friday searched for a baby girl who was cut from her mother's womb in a grisly slaying in the woman's home.

An eight-months-pregnant Bobbi Jo Stinnett, 23, was found dead Thursday afternoon and had apparently been strangled, said Sheriff Ben Espey.

"Someone was wanting a baby awful bad," he said.

Espey would not say how the infant was cut from Stinnett's body. He said there were no signs of forced entry into the home, but there was evidence of a struggle.

An Amber Alert was issued for the infant early Friday.

"The doctors who examined Bobbi Jo gave us information indicating we probably would have a live child if we could find it," Espey said. But he added: "The child would be in danger because of being one month premature."

Doctors also said the baby might have suffered a lack of oxygen or other injuries during the assault.

The FBI and several other agencies chased down tips, including one that indicated the baby may have been taken out of state. Espey would not give details.

Investigators were looking for a red Honda hatchback that had been seen in the driveway at Stinnett's home. Officers in a neighboring county spotted a car that appeared to match that description early Friday and began chasing it, but lost sight of it after its lights were turned off, the sheriff said.

Stinnett worked at an engine factory in nearby Maryville; she was expecting her first child. Her husband was at work at the time she was killed, authorities said.

A neighbor, Bill Dragoo, said Stinnett and her husband raised dogs and "didn't bother anybody. It blows my mind that this happened. She was such a shy person. They didn't deserve this."

Several pregnant women have been killed in recent years by attackers who then removed their fetuses, in some cases to pass the children off as their own.

In the most recent case, a 21-year-old woman was shot to death in Oklahoma in December 2003, allegedly by another woman who pretended the 6-month-old fetus was her child. The fetus died and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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